Monday, January 18, 2010

BJ's Gift Card Winner

Only two entries in the BJ's contest -- so my scientific selection process involved my husband flipping a coin, with the first entrant heads and the second entrant tails.

And the winner is... tails. Congrats, Luv to Save. I'll e-mail you shortly for your contact information.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse

This evening my husband and I went to Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse with my in-laws for a birthday dinner. We've lived in the Albany area for years but neither of us had ever eaten there before. We didn't quite know what to expect, but figured that there'd at least be steak or something along those lines on the menu that we could eat.

When we sat down, my mother in law informed the waitress that there were two gluten free diners (herself and my husband) at the table. The waitress sent someone (a manager or owner) over who said that while they didn't have a printable gluten free menu he would be happy to answer any questions we might have. We called him back for additional clarification after we started looking at the menu, and we were pleasantly shocked.

My husband and mother in law started their meal with a house salad and gluten free balsamic vinaigrette dressing. My husband then had a veal parmigiana (instead of bread crumbs they use an egg wash with cornstarch) with gluten free penne pasta, while my mother in law ordered one of the specials of the evening, a filet and alfredo dish over gluten free penne pasta.

Let me just say this -- my husband was beyond excited to order veal parmigiana -- since I won't make it, he thought he might never have it again in a restaurant. The portion sizes at Delmonico's are extremely generous (I have two to three lunches from my leftovers sitting in the fridge right now) but he ate the entire meal which included three pieces of veal and a huge plate of gluten free penne and sauce.

I tried a piece of the gluten free pasta and it was absolutely amazing -- I couldn't tell the difference between their pasta and "regular" pasta, and we wondered if they make it themselves.

The one disappointment: they really didn't have any gluten free desserts on the list, but after finishing his meal my husband didn't have room for dessert.

Anyway -- we were delighted with our experience, thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and will definitely be returning!

Monday, January 4, 2010

BJ's Wholesale Club -- and contest!

First of all now that I'm back from the craziness of the holidays, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and are starting 2010 with a great start!

Now, on to the topic of this blog. Before the holidays, MyBlogSpark, General Mills and BJ's offered me a trial membership to BJ's as well as a $25 gift card. My husband and I aren't currently members of BJ's and given our New Years Resolution to save money on groceries this seemed like something interesting to check out. So, we agreed to sign up for the Spark and check out the club.

Overall, there can be some very good deals there for the smart shopper. However, you have to be careful with bulk stores, because it's easy to get sucked in thinking that a large quanity means it's a good deal, or that you're definitely going to use all of something. And, of course the fact that if you're set in the products you use, you might not want to compromise and buy something similar just because it's a good deal -- if you don't like it you have to use an awful lot of it before it's gone! Also, considering that we're constrained by shopping gluten free, I was interested to see what we could find.

Now -- many of the things at BJ's would be a lot better for us if we owned a house or a large freezer. Unfortunately our apartment doesn't have a whole lot of storage space, so we can't really stock up on six month's worth of toilet paper or tissues. At least, unless we wanted to let them do double duty as furniture! So, alas, we stayed away from most household items -- we did find very good deals on Clorox Wipes (I use them for everything) and laundry detergent. I'll give a shoutout to Woollite Dark since that's what I ended up picking up, at a much better deal than at Walmart.

Next, off to the food aisles. They didn't carry any of the pet supplies that we use (we buy Wellness canned dog food), but there were some interesting finds that were gluten free. Staples like rice, pasta sauce (they had Classico multipacks that are labelled gluten free), and salsa, etc. were all decent deals. There were also items that weren't necessarily good deals, like family size packages of corn chips for about the same price as when they go on sale at Price Chopper. Since it's after New Years and we're trying to be good we did give the candy aisle a wide berth, but normally we'd have found quite a bit there we'd like. ;-)

Overall -- even for a gluten free household a BJ's membership can be worthwhile, provided you have ample storage space for bulk items and keep an eye out for what's a good deal and what might not necessarily be good.

Now -- onto the good stuff. Since everyone is trying to save money after the holidays, I'm pleased to announce that MyBlogSpark, BJ's and General Mills are offering a $25 BJ's gift card to one of my readers. If you're interested here is how to enter:
  • Receive one entry by leaving a comment on this blog entry before Saturday, January 16th. And entrants -- grad school is starting up, and I just don't have time to track you down. If you're serious about entering leave me some way to contact you -- an e-mail address preferably, or a link to an ACTIVE blog. It can be obfuscated but if I have no idea who made a comment and have no way to contact you, I won't count it.
  • Winner will be picked at random and announced on this blog.

Good luck!